10 Natural Remedies to Cure Erectile Dysfunction | Alternative Medicine

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual problem of men in which it becomes difficult to stay erect during intercourse. Almost all men undergo a temporary ED during their lifetime at times of stress. However, if the ED is frequent, this may indicate a health problem that requires treatment.

Conventional treatments of ED is largely focused on the underlying cause. In general, doctors or GPs often suggest medications such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), etc., testosterone therapy or vacuum erection devices. If these options fail, vascular reconstructive surgeries are performed as a last resort.

Alternatively, if your problem is not that severe, you may try the below herbal remedies to help improve sex drive and support sexual health and wellbeing. All these herbs are scientifically proven to enhance energy level and stamina, increase blood circulation to the penis, strengthen sexual glands, and improve the production of testosterone.

ALSO READ: Myths and Facts You Need to Know about Herbal Remedies

oats

1. Oats (Avena sativa)

They are a member of the grass family native to Scotland. Oat has become a natural alternative to pharmaceutical erectile dysfunction drugs without their undue adverse effects. Many traditional practitioners also called it Natural Viagra.

Traditionally, oats have been used to improve sex drive in both men and women quickly and effectively. For men, oat is thought to be a natural tonic that increases healthy blood flow to sexual organs and assists in the healthy production of testosterone. Although not enough scientific studies are done to evaluate the effectiveness of oats in treating erectile dysfunction, but many studies have already demonstrated that oat is a natural health tonic. [1] It helps improve cognitive performance by stimulating the nervous system.

However, a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Reproduction reported that the extract of oats could encourage the release of luteinizing hormone, which eventually helps stimulate the production of testosterone. [2]

Kola nut

2. Kola Nut (Cola acuminata)

It is a natural aphrodisiac native to the Central and Western Africa. The trees are one of the highly utilized medicinal herbs in Africa for the management of sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction, according to a study published in the African Health Sciences. [3]

Kola nut is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. The seed is widely used for its alkaloid properties (caffeine, kolanin, and theobromin), which helps dispel sleep, enhance alertness and physical energy, and reduce thrust and hunger. During sexual intercourse, kola nut is thought to accelerating somatic and cerebral energy from the CNS and thereby stimulate receptors of skin pleasure, which eventually leads to a healthy orgasm. The kola nut seed also contains phlobaphens, phenolics, tannins, protein, betaine, kola red, starch, fat, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin.

Dr. Hans Martin Hirt and Bindanda M'Pia [4] in their famous book "Natural Medicine in the Tropics" written that the roasted kola nut seed has been used for centuries in the treatment of neuralgia, migraine, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, and severe form of depression (antidepressant and melancholy).

gotu kola

3. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Also known as "the fountain of youth", it is a swamp plant native to the South Pacific and several countries in the Asia and Africa. In Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine, it has been used for thousands of years to promote wound healing, increase energy, improve mental clarity, enhance sexual potency, and treat skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, and leprosy.

Although limited clinical studies are done on this medicinal plant and benefits are mostly based on anecdotal evidence, but preclinical studies already established wound healing, vein strengthening, cognitive, anxiolytic, antidepressant, sedative, antiepileptic, anti-inflammatory, and antiulcer properties. [5]

Gotu kola may help increase sex drive, enhance sexual pleasure, and boost the male libido, as well. In an animal model, researchers compared sildenafil, an active compound of Viagra, with a new herbal product, composed of Centella asiatica and four other herbal extracts, for erectile dysfunction. [6] The study results reported that in different doses, the herbal product showed both higher and similar effectiveness when compared with sildenafil.

Horny Goat Weed

4. Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium sagittatum)

It is a genus of flowering plants native to China. It has been used for over 2000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat erectile dysfunction and offset low sex drives. Traditionally, the plant has also been used to alleviate menopausal discomfort, dispel mental and physical fatigue, improve weak bones, and diminish joint pain and osteoarthritis.

The leaves of this medicinal plant consist of a variety of phytochemicals, including alkaloids, polysaccharides, sterols, and flavonoids. A study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology suggested that like sildenafil, icariin, a flavonoid from the plant leaves, might be developed as an oral effective agent to treat erectile dysfunction. [7] According to the study report, icariin was found to inhibit the phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), inhibition of this enzyme improves erectile function.

Horny goat weed is a genuine aphrodisiac, a natural alternative to Viagra for restoring sexual fire and improving erectile function. Although evidence is still limited for its sexual benefits, a small-scale clinical trial reported that daily use of horny goat weed based formula for 45 days resulted in increased sexual satisfaction among 60% of the study participants. [8]

Siberian Ginseng

5. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

It is a species of the Araliaceae plant family native to Northeastern Asia, including Siberia, Russia, and China. The plant has a long history of traditional use. Many traditional practitioners often prescribe it to enhance male virility and fertility. Historically, the plant has also been used to reduce physical and mental stress, enhance energy, increase longevity, and prevent colds and flu.

Siberian ginseng is a natural adaptogen, a substance that helps the body to cope with physical and mental stress without producing unwanted side effects, and has a multitude of physiological effects within the body. Although no exact clinical evidence is behind this claim, many studies already reviewed this ingredient as a possible adaptogen. [9]

Studies have also demonstrated that Siberian ginseng might reduce the severity of cold and flu, decrease the number of herpes simplex virus outbreaks, increase mental alertness, enhance athletic performance, and improve quality of life. [10]

Korean Ginseng

6. Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

This herb is a form of ginseng native to Asia. Many people often get confused with the name of it, ginseng, as there is American and Siberian ginseng. Korean ginseng is an adaptogenic herb that resembles the shape of a human body. Due to its human-like shape, it is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Korean Medicine to treat many health problems. Historically, it has also been used as a potential sex-enhancing tonic for male.

Panax Ginseng is probably the most researched ginseng of all. Scientists often call it the "True Ginseng," as studies have already confirmed many benefits attributed to this herb, including its use as a sexual stimulant for males. [11]

Korean ginseng is a genuine sex-enhancer. It enhances nitric oxide levels in the body and thereby improves erectile function. In a recent randomized trial of 119 men with mild-to-moderate ED, researchers found that the compound not just improved erectile capacity but also improved all domains of sexual function. [12] Several other earlier studies also have demonstrated that this medicinal herb encourages increased testosterone levels and sperm formation in animals. [13]

ginkgo biloba leaves

7. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

This herb is from the survivor of an ancient group of trees, which is the only living tree in its species, genus, family, order, and class, native to China. The trees can live as long as a thousand years. Ginkgo has been traditionally used for thousands of years to treat numerous conditions.

Today, Ginkgo is one of the most studied plants, and many studies have confirmed its numerous health benefits. [14] The herb may be used for treating Alzheimer’s disease, decreasing painful attacks of Raynaud’s syndrome, enhancing blood circulation, coping with premenstrual syndrome, and improving color vision in diabetic patients.

Like Viagra, Ginkgo can enhance the effects of nitric oxide by allowing more blood flow to the penis, as studies suggest it increases blood circulation throughout the body and boosts mental power. [15] Ginkgo may thus help treat impotence in men, improve sexual function, and increase the body's ability to achieve and maintain an erection.

theobroma cacao

8. Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)

Cocoa is a spindly tree from the family Malvaceae, native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. It is the basis of cocoa-rich chocolate; for centuries, it has been used not just for its amazing taste and flavor but also for its supposed health effects.

Cocoa is high in antioxidants called flavonoids and a variety of chemicals, including theobromine, polyphenols, and essential minerals. A study published in the JAMA reported that daily intake of small amounts of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate with a regular diet was efficiently reduced blood pressure and enhanced the formation of vasodilative nitric oxide. [16] Because an increase in nitric oxide level improves blood flow within the body, cocoa may boost sexual performance, as well.

Also, according to a review published in The Journal of Nutrition, many early manuscripts have proposed several health benefits of cocoa, including nervous system stimulation, facilitated digestion, decreased pain of angina pectoris, improved heart health, and better kidney and bowel function. [17]

Tribulus terrestris

9. Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)

It is an herbaceous perennial plant, native to southern Asia, southern Europe, Africa, and Australia. The plant has a long history of traditional use as a sexual tonic. The extract of tribulus is claimed to enhance male sexual performance, increase muscle mass, and improve testosterone levels and sperm motility. However, not enough sound scientific and medical studies are done to confirm these benefits.

Recently, a clinical study published in the Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine reported that infertile males improved sperm quality and pregnancy outcome after continuing an herbal formula containing Tribulus terrestris and six other herbal extracts. [18]

A furostanol saponin, named protodioscin, is identified as the most active component of tribulus extract. Many researchers believe this component may improve DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) levels in the body. A small rat model study has already backed this claim, as well. [19] However, a clinical study on 21 healthy young men suggested that protodioscin from tribulus extract doesn't possess androgen-increasing properties. [20] However, further research is needed to confirm this claim.

Turnera diffusa

10. Damiana (Turnera diffusa)

It is an aromatic shrub native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. For centuries, this medicinal herb has been used as an aphrodisiac, tonic, stimulant, nerve tonic, and laxative. Traditionally, the leaves of damiana are also used for a variety of therapeutic and culinary purposes.

Mother tincture of damiana is used as an important homeopathic medicine. Both traditional and homeopathic practitioners often prescribe this herb for the treatment of sexual debility and as a remedy for male impotence. The extract of this herb has been claimed to boost libido, increase sexual desire, and treat erectile dysfunction.

Although to date no reliable human clinical trial has been done to evaluate its effectiveness, several studies based on animal testing have found significant evidence of enhanced sexual activity in both sexes of rats. [21] Recently, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmaclogy reported that damiana was shown to recover sexual behaviors in sexually impotent male rats. [22]

Medical References

1. Malviya N, Jain S, Gupta VB, Vyas S. Recent studies on aphrodisiac herbs for the management of male sexual dysfunction-a review. Acta Pol Pharm. 2011 Feb;68(1):3-8.

2. Saka VP, Challa SR, Raju AB. Effect of avena sativa (Oats) on spermatogenesis and reproductive health. Journal of Endocrinology and Reproduction. 2016;20(2):118-25.

3. Kamatenesi-Mugisha M, Oryem-Origa H. Traditional herbal remedies used in the management of sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction in western Uganda. African Health Sciences. 2005;5(1):40-9.

4. Balagizi, Innocent & HIRT, Hans-martin & Lindsey, Keith & Mbuta, Konda & M'Pia, Bindanda. (2017). Natural Medicine in the Tropics: Treatments.

5. Gohil KJ, Patel JA, Gajjar AK. Pharmacological review on Centella asiatica: a potential herbal cure-all. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences. 2010 Sep;72(5):546.

6. Qinna N, Taha H, Matalka KZ, Badwan AA. A new herbal combination, Etana, for enhancing erectile function: an efficacy and safety study in animals. International Journal of Impotence Research. 2009 Sep;21(5):315-20.

7. Xin ZC, Kim EK, Lin CS, Liu WJ, Tian L, Yuan YM, Fu J. Effects of icariin on cGMP-specific PDE5 and cAMP-specific PDE4 activities. Asian journal of andrology. 2003 Mar 1;5(1):15-8.

8. Ma H, He X, Yang Y, Li M, Hao D, Jia Z. The genus Epimedium: an ethnopharmacological and phytochemical review. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2011 Apr 12;134(3):519-41.

9. Davydov M, Krikorian AD. Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim.(Araliaceae) as an adaptogen: a closer look. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2000 Oct 1;72(3):345-93.

10. Yan-Lin S, Lin-De L, Soon-Kwan H. Eleutherococcus senticosus as a crude medicine: Review of biological and pharmacological effects. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 2011 Nov 9;5(25):5946-52.

11. Jang DJ, Lee MS, Shin BC, Lee YC, Ernst E. Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review. British journal of clinical pharmacology. 2008 Oct;66(4):444-50.

12. Choi YD, Park CW, Jang J, Kim SH, Jeon HY, Kim WG, Lee SJ, Chung WS. Effects of Korean ginseng berry extract on sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction: a multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical study. International journal of impotence research. 2013 Mar;25(2):45-50.

13. Abarikwu SO, Onuah CL, Singh SK. Plants in the management of male infertility. Andrologia. 2020 Apr;52(3):e13509.

14. Sierpina VS, Wollschlaeger B, Blumenthal M. Gingko biloba. American Family Physician. 2003 Sep 1;68(5):923-6.

15. Wheatley D. Triple‐blind, placebo‐controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba in sexual dysfunction due to antidepressant drugs. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. 2004 Dec;19(8):545-8.

16. Taubert D, Roesen R, Lehmann C, Jung N, Schömig E. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial. Jama. 2007 Jul 4;298(1):49-60.

17. Dillinger TL, Barriga P, Escárcega S, Jimenez M, Lowe DS, Grivetti LE. Food of the gods: cure for humanity? A cultural history of the medicinal and ritual use of chocolate. The Journal of nutrition. 2000 Aug 1;130(8):2057S-72S.

18. Khoradmehr, A., Et Al. Pregnancy Outcome After Consumption of Herbal Medicine. Iranian Journal ofReproductive Medicine. 2011: 40-41.

19. Gauthaman K, Ganesan AP, Prasad RN. Sexual effects of puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) extract (protodioscin): an evaluation using a rat model. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine. 2003 Apr 1;9(2):257-65.

20. Neychev VK, Mitev VI. The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2005 Oct 3;101(1-3):319-23.

21. Arletti R, Benelli A, Cavazzuti E, Scarpetta G, Bertolini A. Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual behavior of male rats. Psychopharmacology. 1999 Mar 1;143(1):15-9.

22. Estrada-Reyes R, Ortiz-López P, Gutiérrez-Ortíz J, Martínez-Mota L. Turnera diffusa Wild (Turneraceae) recovers sexual behavior in sexually exhausted males. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2009 Jun 25;123(3):423-9.

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